The King of Fighters is a direct competitor to CAPCOM's Street Fighter series, it has a rabid following across numerous platforms such as the Wii and the PS2, now of course there's also the PSP and for terms of this pretty short review I'm looking directly at the PSP game.
Enter King of Fighters Collection: the Orochi Saga for Sony's little handheld with the big heart. It's obvious right from the start that this collection of KoF games (5 strong) is going to be fun and is value for money for rabid fans of the series and beat-em-up gamers alike.
You get KoF 94 through to KoF 98 and these are a perfect fit for a handheld like the PSP, after all, it's pretty much perfect for fighting games like these - I own a massive collection of brawlers on numerous formats and I have to admit, I'm a retro-holic nut in that respect. What you get for your bucks, quids or euros is basically, Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, Psycho Soldier and Ikari Warriors (one of my favourites). For those of you that don't know, King of Fighters is a sweet game mechanics system, it has easy to perform combo moves and balanced opponents, there's no really over the top characters in these games and they make an excellent entry-level point for new fans.
There's a few gripes, the poor button input can spoil some of the smoother moves, there's a bit of lag from pressing the attack for instance and the game registering it. We can't grumble though when you get 5 games on one UMD and the price is not to be scoffed at.
You have team fights too, so a new fighter comes in when one of your fighters has been defeated, you should know that mechanic by now. You also get to see every fighter's endings and main stories, for those big fans of the series. I found it really simple to get into on the PSP, there were no problems with the execution of moves for the various characters and whilst the moves were easy to learn, the characters will take a bit of work to master.
Even on the PSP though the games show that they're from the good old days of retro-old school beat em' up battlers. The graphics are good, better than the old Street Fighter but still showing their age these days. The animations and detail aren't as good as you might expect, they're a treat for those fans of the old style though.
I've got no gripes about the sound design or the music, some of the music is so catchy that you'll want to listen to them again and again until you're on the bus and humming a tune or two to some old lady on the back seat. SNK have been really good in that respect with the inclusion of a nice Jukebox mode so that you can listen to your favourite tracks from the game over and over again.
I can't grumble with KoF: OS, it's the perfect collection of some of the best fighting games from my youth, top quality for the time and whilst they do show that things have advanced in terms of graphics and presentation, these games hold their own from a pure brawler-fun standpoint and in the end, the Gameplay should be first and foremost.
So yeah, go out and grab a copy of this slice of battler history and relive some of the golden days.